Here’s why you should become a vegan: you could outlive your agemates

Here’s why you should become a vegan: you could outlive your agemates. Our contributor and Mt. Kilimanjaro climber, Madaraka Nyerere, weighs in on why a no meat diet could be beneficial. He writes: 

In June 2007 I attended the re-launch of the Arusha Declaration in London England and stayed with Selma James and Nina Lopez. Both are vegetarians. I come from an ethnic group where “food” is synonymous with “meat” and vegetables are fed mostly to livestock. My ten-day stay in London on a vegetarian diet was an endurance test that was tougher than climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

How it all began

I survived and returned to Tanzania where people commented that I looked much younger than I deserved. It occurred to me then that I had stumbled upon the fountain of youth. I was convinced that the overdose of vegetables I unwillingly consumed in London was the cause of my apparent youthful appearance.

If ten days on a vegetarian diet seemed to slow down my ageing, what would a few years do? I decided to drop the beef from my diet and embarked on a quest to become a complete vegetarian.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda

A year later, I was privileged during a meeting in Maputo to meet a famous vegan, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia. He is pictured on top holding the baby. When the British colonial government introduced a racist policy directing meat vendors in Zambia to sell meat through separate windows for Africans and Europeans, he protested by boycotting meat products. He is a teetotaller and drinks neither tea nor coffee, but consumes considerable amounts of fruit juices daily.

That act of political protest turns out to have deducted a considerable number of years from the now 92 year-old former president. He is full of energy and is in considerably high spirits. At the meeting in Maputo, he made it a point to trot to the podium each time he was asked to address the meeting.

My dilemma

The greatest dilemma I am facing, even more difficult than the decision to drop the meat from my diet, is which of the following two I should give up next: fish or chicken.